White Chocolate Mocha Napoleons
instant espresso powder
puff pastry sheets
chocolate-covered espresso beans
Make the mocha mascarpone cream:
Place the chocolate in a medium bowl. In a small saucepan bring 3/4 cup of the cream and the espresso powder to a gentle boil. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate. Let the mixture stand for 30 seconds to melt the chocolate. Gently whisk until smooth. Whisk in the mascarpone cheese, coffee liqueur and cinnamon. Cover the mixture with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
Make the pastry layers:
Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or waxed paper.
Thaw the sheet of puff pastry according to the package directions. Lay the sheet on a lightly floured work surface. Using a large chef's knife, trim the sheet so that it is a perfect square. Using a fork, prick the pastry well all over its surface. Using the knife, cut the sheet into four squares . Transfer the squares to the prepared baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in the freezer for 10 minutes.
Remove the prepared pastry squares from the freezer. Spray a wire rack which is the same size as the baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.
Place the rack upside down over the pastry squares. Bake the squares for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden. Transfer the squares to a wire rack and cool completely.
Using a large knife, cut each of the squares in half diagonally to form 8 triangles. Using a small knife, carefully slice each triangle in half crosswise to form two thin layers from each triangle. There will be a total of 16 triangles. You will need 12 triangles for this recipe. The extra are in case of breakage.
Make the dark mocha sauce:
Melt the chocolate with the coffee. In a small saucepan bring the cream to a gentle boil. Gradually whisk the cream into the melted chocolate until smooth. Stir in the vanilla and coffee liqueur. The sauce may be made up to 5 days in advance and refrigerated, covered, until serving. Reheat the sauce over simmering water before serving.
Make the creme anglaise:
In a heavy, medium non-corrosive saucepan, bring the milk, cream and vanilla bean to a gentle boil over medium low heat. Cover the pan, remove it from the heat and let the mixture stand for 15 minutes. Remove the vanilla bean pieces. Using a small, sharp knife, scrape the tiny black seeds from the inside of the vanilla bean into the milk mixture.
In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar until blended. Gradually whisk the warm milk mixture into the yolk mixture until blended. Return this mixture back to the saucepan. Continue cooking over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon for 2 to 4 minutes, or until the custard has thickened slightly. It is done when you can run your finger down the back of the custard-coated spoon and a path remains in the custard for several seconds. Do not let the custard come to a boil.
Remove the pan from the heat and immediately strain the custard into a noncorrosive metal bowl. Place the bowl in a larger bowl of iced water and stir the custard for 10 to 15 minutes, or until cold. (The creme anglaise sauce may be prepared up to two days in advance, cooled, covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated.)
Assemble the napoleons:
Remove the white chocolate and mocha mascarpone creams from the refrigerator. In their separate bowls, whisk each of the creams to soft peaks.
In a large chilled bowl, combine the remaining 3/4 cup heavy cream from the white chocolate mascarpone cream with the remaining 3/4 cup heavy cream from the mocha mascarpone cream. Using a handheld electric mixer, beat the cream at medium-high speed to soft peaks. Do not overbeat. Using a large rubber spatula, gently fold one-half of the whipped cream (about 1 1/2 Cups) into the white chocolate mascarpone cream. Fold the remaining whipped cream into the mocha mascarpone cream.
Fill two pastry bags fitted with medium star tips (such as Ateco #5) with each of the creams. Place a puff pastry triangle on a work surface. Dust the triangle with confectioners' sugar. Pipe a layer of mocha mascarpone cream onto the triangle. Top with another puff triangle. Dust with confectioners' sugar. Pipe a layer of white chocolate mascarpone cream over the second triangle. Garnish the napoleon with a chocolate-covered espresso bean. Repeat this layering process with the remaining puff pastry triangles to form a total of six napoleons.
Spoon some dark mocha sauce on a dessert plate. Fill a squeeze bottle with creme anglaise sauce. Pipe a spiral of creme anglaise over the mocha sauce. Draw a toothpick from the center of the plate to the edge, all around the plate at 1-inch intervals. Place a napoleon in the center of the plate. Dust with cocoa powder, if desired. Serve immediately.
Make the white chocolate mascarpone cream:
Place the white chocolate in a medium bowl. In a small saucepan, bring 3/4 cup of the cream to a gentle boil. Remove from heat. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate. Let the mixture stand for 30 seconds to melt the chocolate. Gently whisk until smooth. Whisk in the mascarpone cheese, vanilla and almond extract. Cover the mixture with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.